Virgin Atlantic raises competition concerns over Aer Lingus takeover

Virgin Atlantic raises competition concerns over Aer Lingus takeover

Virgin Atlantic will seek to ensure competition is protected once International Airlines Group, parent of rival British Airways, takes over Aer Lingus.

The Irish government recently agreed to sell its 25% stake in Aer Lingus to IAG, and 4.99% stakeholder Etihad Airways has agreed to do the same.

Virgin Atlantic's chief executive, Craig Kreeger, speaking on the sidelines of the Iata annual meeting in Miami, told Reuters: "We expect that the transaction will ultimately reach conclusion, but we'd certainly love to see a hard look at what kind of remedies might be appropriate to allow competitive connectivity to Ireland to continue to exist.”

Virgin Atlantic partnered with Aer Lingus to operate domestic UK flights under the Little Red brand, although the service is being scrapped.

"We'll just have to wait and see what Virgin's relationship with Aer Lingus will look like after a takeover deal", Kreeger said.

He added that joining Aer Lingus's transatlantic operation with IAG's, which already controls a significant amount of the North Atlantic market, was of concern to him.

In particular, he said the government could take action to allow for competitive pricing. He did not specify which government he was talking about.

"We just like to see customers have competitive alternatives, and we'd like to be a part of that," Kreeger said.


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